A little introduction

Welcome to my Legal Up Fitness website and blog!  For my first post, I just want to make a quick introduction and tell you a little about myself and the purpose of this website.  The Legal Up Fitness blog is for fitness instructors, yoga teachers, personal trainers, and the like who want to feel empowered to take their careers to the next level and start something a little more entrepreneurial.  

My name is Megan Green and I’m a lawyer and a Pilates and Lagree Megaformer instructor.  It’s actually been a minute since I last practiced law.  (By a minute, I mean a few years if we want to be completely honest here).  I practiced for 12 years as a litigator.  I clerked for judges, worked at a large law firm doing commercial litigation and ultimately landed at a government agency.  I currently have two kids in elementary school and I left the active practice of law when my oldest was 1–so 8 years ago.  I still worked (at a law school as a career counselor), but just not with the demanding hours of an attorney.

A little over a year ago, I started teaching Pilates and Lagree Megaformer classes.  You see, all through law school and my years as a lawyer, I found my stress relief with group fitness.  My preferences changed over the years from step aerobics and spinning to yoga and Pilates, but it was always something.  There was something about a group of students coming together and collectively moving together to music that resonated with me and I always admired the instructor, who conducted this physical orchestra.  When the opportunity to get certified and teach classes came up, I jumped in with both feet.  

At first, I loved teaching. I dreamed of opening my own Pilates and Barre studio and thought this was a great first step.  I also thought I would just work a couple of hours here and there and would then have a bunch of extra time to start some on-line side gig, like health coaching or private online classes or just pursue opening my own studio.  I thought it would be a way to have more time with my kids while still practicing what I loved.  

But what happened was a different story and I’ll write about that in a future post because some of you might be able to relate.  Last summer, I was working for three different studios, teaching sometimes 25-30 classes a week and getting to know other fitness instructors, and I realized that there are three types of fitness professionals.

First, there’s the side-gig instructor.  This is the instructor who maybe has a job and just teaches a class or two for enjoyment and some side money.  This may be a stay-at-home parent who teaches while the kids are in school or a school teacher who picks up extra classes in the summer.  Maybe that’s you and although you’d like to make your fitness career your full time gig, you don’t think you could make more than a little extra fun money.  

Second, there’s the studio hustler–this is the instructor who is running around, picking up every class they can and filling their schedule to make ends meet.  They’re making $15-$50 for every class which doesn’t include the hours of preparation, training or commuting time.   They sub whenever they can, work when they’re sick, and fill their schedule to try to pad their paychecks.  Last summer, I was really amazed at how quickly I got caught up in that and how may other instructors who were and still are working like that.  It’s not a fun way to live.  

Then there’s the third type–the entrepreneur.  For a long time I thought, well that means you buy and open your own studio.  (Okay, secretly I still have that dream–it’s this really pretty Pilates studio and it has brick walls and hardwood floors and lots of natural –totally Instagramable–lighting and we just show up and do Pilates all day and everyone is just so happy).  But let’s face it, that’s a big dream.  That’s a big investment of both time and money (as my husband likes to remind me whenever I bring it up).  

But there’s a middle ground of entrepreneurship for fitness instructors and personal trainers and I see some of you doing it.  You’re working as your on boss, getting classes together on your own time at a park, a dance studio or open gym.   You’re getting sponsorships and getting paid influencers.  You’re putting up websites and offering health and fitness coaching onlin.  You’re giving online classes with paid memberships and offering private classes at home or through Zoom or Skype.  You’re thinking outside the old model and figuring how to take something you love–physical movement, health and fitness, and finding a way to make it work for you without the studio or gym.

So I started looking into these options, put up my own website and even got a couple of private clients.  But then the old lawyer brain came back.  My brain started racing, thinking about all of the regulations and laws and contracts and waivers and taxes and insurance and….  And then I thought, calm down Megan.  You’re a lawyer.  your trained to do this.  Research it and figure it out.  And that’s where the idea of Legal Up Fitness was born.

You see, I’m so encouraged by all of you out there starting your own businesses, in-home and online coaching and training, and getting your own classes together in some dance studio at night or on weekends.  I think you’re amazing.  I just want to give you ideas on how to do it so that you feel confident that you’re protected–legally protected.  There’s liability and waivers, and taxes and insurance and the GDPR and the CCPA and what apps are you using to collect money with and all of that (because have you checked the terms and conditions?  Inhale.  Exhale.  Legal Up Fitness is just my place to give you ideas on protecting yourself so that you move forward financially and confident that you’re legally protected.  This isn’t legal advice (seriously, read my disclaimer).  This is legal empowerment. 

My next posts will short ones (hopefully, this introductory one  will be the longest) because I know you’re short on time between classes and clients.  The first few will be some motivational ones about how to stop thinking of yourself as just an employee of a studio or gym and start thinking of yourself as a business.  I’ll discuss what that means and requires–like taxes and insurance.  I’ll discuss business formation requirements.  I’ll write about websites, why you should have one an if you do, what needs to be on there.  I’ll write about thinking bigger than in-person classes or trainings and taking your career to the next level and, of course, what you need to cover your toned tush to do that.  I want to write about marketing, and not just how to do it, but what you need to do to make yourself compliant with laws and regulations when you do.  I’ve got a ton of ideas for my posts and I hope you come back–for the inspiration and the information.  

If you’re currently hustling around the studios, working crazy hours, scraping by to collect every little bump to a tiny paycheck.  You deserve bigger.  You deserve more.  Or if you’re just starting out and finding it difficult to get a teaching slot at a studio or gym, you deserve the chance to make your own opportunity.  You deserve to level up your career and your dreams and you deserve to be legally protected when you do.  Thanks for reading and I’ll see in the next post.